Pamela "Pam" Starr, a leader with more than 20 years of experience serving individuals with disabilities, joins San Diego State University today as the director of Student Disability Services.
“I am ecstatic to be returning to California, but more importantly to San Diego State, to continue my career in a field that I’m passionate about,” Starr said. “SDSU already has a well-established program for students with disabilities and I look forward to growing the program to the next level, mirroring where the university is going as a whole.”
Starr is a double alumna of SDSU, having earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the university.
As Student Disability Services Director, she will be responsible for guiding the planning, administration and evaluation of the programs and services offered by Student Disability Services, which supports more than 1,000 of students each year.
In addition, Starr will direct state and federal programs that provide support for students with disabilities. These programs include the TRiO Student Support Services federal grant project, which provides advising, tutoring and other support for at-risk students with disabilities; and the California Workability IV program, which provides career selection and placement for state Department of Rehabilitation-registered students and alumni entering the workforce.
A standout candidate
Reginald Blaylock, associate vice president for Student Services, said it was Starr’s vision for the future of SDS that distinguished her as the standout candidate for this role.
“She's a great fit for the campus and for the university as a whole,” said Blaylock, who hired Starr. “Her work on behalf of disabled students, at both the campus and the state level, will really benefit Student Disability Services and the SDSU community.”
Expansive list of responsibilities
Starr will increase awareness of disability as a facet of diversity and will be responsible for further integrating disability considerations into the university’s culture, policies and practices.
She will take the lead in providing information and training on disability-related matters to faculty, staff and administrators at SDSU, as well as coordinating with other university offices to help ensure fair treatment and improved access for students with disabilities.
Starr is excited by the fact that SDSU students with disabilities are already actively engaged in the campus community.
“It is exciting to work with students who don’t sit back and just let things happen, but rather feel empowered to speak up and make things happen,” Starr said.
She will also serve as the SDSU Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance Officer. In this role, Starr will oversee and coordinate campus-wide compliance with federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to persons with disabilities. This duty includes addressing faculty, staff, and student disability issues, as well as public and student access to programs and facilities.
Starr returns to SDSU after working for more than 20 years at Eastern Connecticut State University, including with 13 years as the director of the Office of AccessAbility Services. She earned her doctorate in special education and rehabilitation psychology from the University of Connecticut.
Starr was the first full-time professional hired by Eastern Connecticut State University to provide short-and long-range planning for individuals with disabilities. There she was also was responsible for the successful development of the Veterans' Education and Transition Services Center.
Starr has published more than 25 articles, papers and presentations related to teaching and serving students with special needs.